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Title: The Chinese innovation system for wind energy : structure, functions and performance
Author: Hu, Rui
ISNI:       0000 0004 6422 8143
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2017
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Energy technology innovation is critical to transitioning to a sustainable energy system. The energy R&D expenditure worldwide has increased recently to combat the challenges of climate change, energy security and energy affordability. Emerging economies play an increasingly important role in energy technology innovation. As the largest energy producer and consumer, China’s energy technology innovation has an influential impact on the global energy system. China has emerged as the largest investor and user of renewable energy technology. The country accounts for 33% of the global wind power capacity, far ahead of the USA (17%) and Germany (11%). Among the world’s ten largest wind turbine producers, half of them are Chinese enterprises. China’s rapid development of wind technology attracted wide interest. The two key questions are a) how does China compare with leading countries in wind technology innovation, and b) what factors have been responsible for China’s successes and failures. This thesis draws upon innovation systems theory and innovation metrics to answer these two questions. It is found that China has caught up fast in inputs and certain outputs but significantly lags the leading countries in other aspects especially outcomes. The relative weakness in invention capability represents China’s most obvious bottlenecks. It demonstrates that the country’s system performance is highly related to the fulfilment of the system functions which are affected by the presence and capability of the structural elements. The thesis is offered as a comprehensive study on China’s wind energy innovation system. It presents useful lessons on facilitating the generation, adoption and diffusion of renewable energy technology as well as the challenges that need to be addressed to smooth the energy transition globally. The research makes methodological, empirical and theoretical contributions to the innovation systems literature.
Supervisor: Skea, Jim ; Hannon, Matthew Sponsor: Imperial College London ; China Scholarship Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral